FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse nearly erased a six-goal deficit — its largest of the season — before letting a second-half comeback and its season slip away Saturday against fourth-seeded Duke at Gillette Stadium.
With the opportunity to reach a fourth consecutive NCAA Championship game, the Terps never led against the Blue Devils. Maryland turned a 6-0 deficit into a one-goal game in the second half, but Duke held on for a 13-8 win.
Maryland encountered its largest deficit within the first 18 minutes of the game, as Duke’s Joe Robertson put the Blue Devils up 6-0 just over two minutes into the second quarter. The Terps were turning the ball over, not winning faceoffs and displaying no chemistry on offense. Maryland recorded just five shots in the opening period, none of which midfielder Connor Kelly took. For a majority of the senior’s performance on Saturday, it mimicked the one from a week prior: a no-goal, one-assist showing in the win against Cornell.
After failing to score in the first quarter for the first time all season, the Terps gained momentum after faceoff specialist Austin Henningsen entered. The junior won his first three draws, spurting a two-goal run for Maryland. But Henningsen lost his next three and wouldn’t take another one for the remainder of the game.
Maryland ended the half on a 5-2 run, helped by redshirt freshman Logan Wisnauskas’ two goals and one assist. Jared Bernhardt and Anthony DeMaio added goals, making it an 8-5 game. For just the third time all season, the Terps started the second half playing from behind.
At half, Kelly and freshman Bubba Fairman — who had back-to-back hat tricks in the NCAA Tournament — had no goals. The duo then helped get the Terps back within one just minutes into the third quarter. Kelly scored his first goal in two games, and Fairman fired a laser to cut Maryland’s deficit to just one goal with eight minutes left in the third.
From that point on, though, Maryland’s offense reverted to the form present in the opening 15 minutes of the game. The Terps were held scoreless for the final eight minutes of the third, allowing Duke to regain a 10-7 lead heading into the final 15 minutes.
Only Johns Hopkins had held Maryland under 10 goals this season, a game in which the Terps won anyway, 8-7, in triple-overtime last month. Duke’s defense kept Maryland off-balance and goalkeeper Danny Fowler made 12 saves.
Duke ended the game on a 5-1 run to squash any chance of Maryland completing its comeback. For the first time 2014, Maryland will not be playing on Memorial Day. The Terps end the season 14-4, one game shy of playing in the national title game.
Three things to know
- Turnovers killed the Terps. Maryland entered Saturday averaging 9.6 turnovers per game, the fewest in the entire country. The Terps had 13 against Duke, and the Blue Devils made them pay. Maryland won the faceoff margin, but handed away possessions often.
- Dan Morris kept it as close as he could. Even though Morris surrendered the goals to allow Duke’s 6-0 early lead and pull-away finish, the senior goalkeeper made 14 saves to give Maryland’s offense a chance. In the end, though, Duke’s offense was too good for Maryland on Saturday.
- Maryland’s offense fell flat. Connor Kelly had just one goal and two assists, while Jared Bernhardt recorded two goals. The Terps’ two highest point-getters were held in check, while Maryland’s role players didn’t step up they way they did last week against Cornell. The Terps were held under 10 goals for just the second time all year.